Friday, October 30, 2009

Object in Mirror Are Intended to Remind you to STOP

Holidays = calories.

Its a fact, maybe not for everyone but it is for me. When I was trying to lose weight it was overwhelming and sometimes upsetting because it made enjoying holidays harder. Now that I have a pretty decent system and am comfortable with myself I'm less bothered by the fact.

Birthdays (not a holiday I know, same deal, whatever), Christmas, Thanksgiving and even Halloween can be challenging. There are so many reasons that I hate Halloween. First, it overshadowed my birthday as a kid. Stupid Halloween stole all my glory. Why can't my school birthday cupcakes be pastel colored? Why are they orange and black? All the other girls get pink and purple birthday treats! Life was clearly unfair to this suburban youth. Excuse me while I tear up and then roll my eyes at myself.

I do hate Halloween though. I hate plastic decorations. Halloween is, by definition, a tacky holiday. At least Christmas decorations can be classy. I also get annoyed with the emphasis on chocolate. I like chocolate occasionally but can't eat much of it. Clearly my life is still unfair. Now its your turn to roll your eyes.

My general system for not making holidays a bear and instead making them enjoyable is a simple promise to myself: I refuse to feel stuffed. Its never worth it. I used to rock the food coma. In college I was a queen of overeating (okay before college too). When something is tasty its hard to remember, although I try, that this food is good but not worth that horrible stomach pain that comes from over indulging. Even if the food is good or even expensive, not worth it. Take it home!

I have a friend that I regularly share expensive meals with. Its a thing we do - we love to save up and have a blow out meal. Just a few months ago we went out, ordered cocktails and had a few snacks and then proceeded to order dinner. Moments before our dinner arrived we realized we already felt stuffed and wanted to fall asleep (that one might have been the cocktails). So we had the waiter pack up all the food. He looked at us like we were clearly crazy. And we might be. But we had one hell of a lunch the next day.

So: stuffed = not worth it. Perhaps I need to tattoo it backwards on my forehead.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pain? Awesome? Dunno!

Every Monday and Wednesday I teach a cycle class. This year my birthday was on a Monday and I found someone to sub for me so I could enjoy a nice meal with my groom. This turned into taking a week off from exercise. It wasn't entirely intentional but a break from the gym and/or exercise can certainly be worth it. For the same reason I believe in interval training I think giving your body a chance to chill can make your future work outs better.

Holy crap did I prove this.

Last night I thought I was going to die. I've been teaching cycle for two years and I have never worked so hard. Also, while I feel fine now, I may have allowed myself to be attacked by a few more germs than usual. My immune system and my endurance level clearly plummeted.

Also, the weirdest part of this is that on Tuesday I thought I had gained 2 pounds from all my overeating (not really you'd have to work incredibly hard to gain 2 pounds in a week, as in consume an extra 7000 calories in that week or 12 pieces of cheesecake, okay that sounds easy - one for breakfast and one for lunch!) and then this morning I had lost those 2 and another .5. Um, whoa.

So either resting from exercise is an invitation for feeling like death OR its a great way to suddenly lose a small amount of weight? I can't decide if I think this is a good thing or a bad thing in the long run.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Slow and Steady Loses (Weight)

I think the most common thing I hear from people about fitness and nutrition is about changing habits. Oprah once told me that it takes a person 13 tries before they change a habit. And, I mean, Oprah is always right. Except that it took me about 6 years to really change my habits and get my nutrition in line and have actual fitness habits.

My thoughts on how one changes habits? Verrryyyy slowwwwly. I don't know about you but when I take on too much I get overwhelmed and no good can come of that. Busy is one thing, overwhelmed is a whole other beast. When I've tried to start four different new habits all at the same time they never stick.

Want to start going to the farmer's market, cooking more and eating less processed food? Sounds awesome but I wouldn't do them all at the same time. Its easy to get anxious about the end result and thus try to do all the new things at once but if you do, in all likelihood, you'll end up doing none of them.

First I started going to Weight Watchers. Well, second and third. I went to there three time before it stuck. Once I liked my weight and had my caloric consumption under control I started changing what I was eating. I started to cook meals that fit actual food groups. Then the food groups changed. Now I make my own bread. I have gone from normal 20-something to total food freak in just a few years. Try to resist the urge to give me a gold star.

There are all kinds of habits I'd still like to change. For instance, I could have probably done without the 2 pounds gained over my birthday weekend (I got a whole weekend!). In other realms of life: I'd like to remember to clean the car more but its just so far away and who carries cleaner and paper towels with them into the parking garage? I'd like to teach myself to be more productive in the morning - I'm really good at getting a day's worth of work done from 3 to 5 pm everyday - and I think this habit will slowly kill me. The list goes on.

Tortoises win the race!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Old Standby

So its my birthday. I find birthdays, like store bought waffles, kind of disappointing. Not that I don't love my birthday and all the gifts and fun. Also, I'm not sure what I think I'm expecting. Its not like I want someone to have a parade in my honor.

The thing that makes birthdays hard though is that I love a good celebratory dinner. I have become somewhat skilled in having entire celebratory weeks without busting the button on my favorite pants. So I guess they aren't that hard. They're just . . . more . . . challenging than a normal day?

What I'm basically saying here is that its Monday and I haven't effectively journaled a single day since Friday. I've written down a meal or two complete with calories. I've even managed to write something on each of those days even if its without calories. I don't even want to know how many extra calories I ate this weekend (and really, who can know how many calories are in a bacon wrapped filet). And, um, I plan to continue to enjoy myself this evening. So instead I've been refusing to eat when I'm not hungry. I stop when I'm full (sort of, sometimes there is bacon left!).

So, I haven't been journaling but I haven't been stuffing myself. Its the old standby of dieters.

Hey, at least I can still button my pants!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Things I Will Not Be Wasting Money On Anymore

The first is jarred apple sauce. I made apple sauce last night and holy crap I never knew it could be so tasty. I find the jarred kind sort of gross. It tastes mealy and weird. Turns out I love apple sauce, just not the kind you buy in the snack aisle.

Also, it was freakishly easy. When I was done I actually stood alone in my kitchen and said, out loud, to no one, "that's it?". Here is what I did:

1. Core 4 apples. (When I chop apples I chop them down the center twice. Basically that means cut the apple in half and cut each half in half. Cut the center out by leaning the apple quarter on its side and cutting on the bias. Sounds complicated but its so incredibly easy. Apparently this is how restaurants do it.)

2. Place apple pieces, half a cup of water, a squirt or two of honey (it was probably a tablespoon), a dash or four of cinnamon and cloves (if you love them more if you don't, less).

3. Boil until the apples are soft. I think it was less than ten minutes.

4. Put in a food processor or mill until the apples are as chunky or smooth as you want.

I let it cool for a few minutes and it was so tasty at a slightly warm temperature. I also put it in my oatmeal this morning and, people, oh my Lord, you really do not need bananas in that there oatmeal. If anyone can swoon over food it would be me and apple sauce oatmeal = swoon.


The other thing I wont waste money on anymore is spray cleaner like 409 or Clorox. Does anyone remember back in the day when people used white vinegar to clean the kitchen? I don't but gracious I wish I did.

I purchased a spray bottle and filled the bottle a little more than half way with vinegar. Then I added water to fill it to the top. Reasons and uses:

1. This is so gross (everyone secretly loves TMI) but I went to the doctor recently and told them I had a rash on my finger under my engagement ring. I've been wearing the ring since March but only last week it started to bug me. Essentially, my setting has a lot of little crevices in it and with all the (anti-swine flu) hand washing and winter weather moisturizing I had started a little fungus farm in there. EW! What does this have to do with vinegar? Well, I soaked my ring in white vinegar for about an hour, washed it with just water and dried it. I let my finger heal overnight and huzzah no more grossness.

2. Vinegar actually removes smells as it dries. Spray the homemade cleaner on your counter tops and it will actually create a natural air neutralizer. This is also awesome for cleaning your kitchen trash can and also stinky children and other family members.

3. Not that I would know from experience but apparently if you toss vinegar into a washer of cloth diapers it helps. I would assume this extends to other smelly and gross clothing. Hmm . . . perhaps I need to learn to speak on this from experience. Ahem, rugby playing fiance, ahem.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

There Could Be An Old Lady With a Ruler!

Oh, form, how you slay us all.

Fiance will tell you that I regularly comment on poor running form. For at least a year he's been trying to get me to get certified as a track and field coach legit style. Its hard for me, when I see women hunched over (your boobs are not supported for the love of God) or men running with their arms swinging from straight to bent (you are going to pop one of those elbows). But running form can mean the difference between an efficient workout and one that tears ligaments.

Friends who regularly attend my spinning class openly call me the posture Nazi. They are not kidding. I probably cue posture more than I scream the word sprint. Head up, long back, arms straight but not locked out...the list goes on.

I know, I know, lay off every one's case, they're doing their best. Its true, they probably are. The reason I'm vocal about this isn't because I like to correct people (although I occasionally enjoy correcting people in those idiotic Lance Armstrong outfits at indoor cycling classes). The reason I'm vocal is because I have two bad knees, one worse than the other, a cervical spine that is a total disaster and popping ankles. I even have one toe that is so busted that it pops when I just simply bend it. And yes, I still work out like a fiend. You can too! Because its all in the form. Better form means a more efficient workout means more calories burned means more muscles fatigued (in the safest way) leading to more bacon and cake eating . . . or something.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


That's a song right?

I was thinking today about all the things I have 'given up'. I put this in quotes because, while I used to live on a banana a day, sometimes two, I don't miss them. I used to love them! I thought they helped me keep away muscle pain. Turns out, no, they were just letting me eat fruit that came from thousands of miles away with an extra helping of chemicals on the peel.

Of course I've also added lots of things. I have Omegas in my fridge. They are in pill form although I try to eat them in fish a fair amount (I really suck at this, if you are in a restaurant with me please yell at me to order the fish). Yay for my brain and my eyes. Fiance also takes the omegas and, in fact, is the one who remembers to purchase them. I kind of think he takes too many and AHA thinks that's bad. Also, I journal like a fiend.

I'm also getting my heart rate up regularly. In fact, perhaps it will keep me from getting that there flu everyone is upset about. Although, apparently my body is still trying to tell me things about myself that I don't know. (I so doubt this. I mean, how can you be so, um, inquisitive [read: obsessive] about yourself and not know.)

So why is this important? Why am I telling you? Well here's why: its freaking weird that I can think bananas are the be all and end all of my life and now I barely notice their absence. I mean WEIRD. I even looked up what other foods give you potassium and it turns out there are lots. Oh, the other reason, I ate oatmeal this morning and I used to believe that you could not eat oatmeal without bananas. Apparently, you can. Who knew? Probably you did. I did not.

You may now commence rolling your eyes at me.

You probably already did.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Salty Sweet Combo Wins Everytime

Shared office food is the devil. Someone brought in some rather tasty but completely unremarkable white chocolate covered pretzels with sprinkles.

I have had 3 today.



I mean besides that they were tasty.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nobody Is Another Word for Me

Dear Karl Lagerfeld,

I think you are kind of neat. Supposedly you're 76 years old and yet are very active. You even lost almost 100 pounds a while back. You still run your own label and Fendi. Good for you!

You've also had some fights with people like Anna Wintour. She didn't like the fact that you put strippers on the runway. I'm not going to pick sides in that war of crazy-gloved-man versus crazy-skinny-faced-lady but you know, whatev.

I do have a bone to pick with you. To each his own I guess. I mean, I've seen those episodes of Project Runway where all the designers are confused when they design something for people who are a size 12. I get it - the proportions are complicated.

Karl, let me just tell you, you of the strange glove obsession, you don't have to look at them. I? I would love to see some people on a runway looking more like me. If you don't want to design for my size 8 self, its cool, J.Crew does a fine ol' job.

Das your loss,

The Lady With the Weight Loss

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Socioeconomics Vs. Nutrition

There were comments (read: one) yesterday about nutrition/calorie count and socioeconomics. It reminded me of a story I heard on NPR back in May. And then today there was a blog post on ThatsFit about corner stores and childhood obesity.

You may be thinking, 'Why does this blog girl think she knows anything about this?' Well turns out I have myself a handy masters degree in social policy. The facts are that people who struggle to make ends meet or even people who work extra jobs or even those who have stressful lives regardless of what society deems to be 'enough' in their bank account (I'm trying to avoid going into a rant about how the federal poverty level might as well be designed by monkeys) have a hard time with nutrition. When you brain and time are occupied by other things its hard to think clearly about the fastest route to drive home let alone how many calories you should eat in a day.

So the problem is that its hard to educate people about nutrition. Further, its hard to absorb the facts about nutrition when life can take up so much time. Don't even get me started on my theory about how what America really needs to solve its problems is affordable subsidized child care so that working mothers can be more effective at being mothers in addition to citizens and people in their own right. ANYWAY.

So if that's the problem what's the solution? Well the solution is not to stop advertising the calorie counts of items. It could be a manner of other things in addition. Rewarding people through health insurance costs when they are at a healthy weight? Maybe. Add required nutrition science to the slew of other sciences we teach our children? Maybe.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts. Comment away!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Call BS

No way. Absolutely no freaking way.

Actually, sort of, yes, but also no.

See, I totally buy that the calorie count on the wall isn't going to make me stop wanting the burger but like the girl says at the end of the Post piece, it makes me realize I don't always need those fries and can totally live without them.

Nutrition isn't about one meal or one part of a meal or one day or even a week. Its about the overall choices you make. For example, this weekend my choices were, um, questionable. Today, I'm working harder, um, minus the chai I just purchased.

I mean, I'm not perfect, sheesh.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In NOTNews: I Love Food.

Oh, hi! (Almost said hai but am not meta enough.) Man, I have been so busy. I was just buried under so much...

Oh, whatever. I was busy having fun. Now that my liver has recovered I'm back to tell you:

Alton Brown is way hot! Apparently he lost 50 pounds and um, yea. I'm going to stop now because fiance told me to stop sweating him. But the reason I bring this up is I love Good Eats (and the motorcycle shows too) for how much he values well made food with fresh ingredients. My DVR was kind enough to allow me to watch one of the new episodes in his 10th season: breakfast. Drool.

In other food news:

I made this pork roast a few weeks ago. The basics are: dry rub with ginger, salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Roast at 400 degrees until a digital thermometer says the meat is 100 internally. Then cover the whole monster in apple butter. Roast again until the meat reaches 155 degrees. Let it rest, chop and consume. Nom, nom, nom is what I have to say about that.
(I got this recipe from not Alton although it reminds me that he does have a tenderloin recipe that I found intriguing so hmmmm.)

I didn't have a roasting pan with high sides so I kind of made one:

That would be a cookie sheet with foil turned into a bowl shape. It was perfectly functional.
Tonight I tried to make pork paprikash. It was eh. I also made some pork chops recently that had a walnut crust. They were good but I've discovered I like my pork saucy. Like me? Heh heh...sorry.
Why the pork? There's an awesome butcher at one of my farmer's markets with some tasty fresh pig products.
My last item in food news is my new favorite snack. Take some cheddar, an apple, 5 or 6 walnuts and maybe some dried fruit. Now, pay attention, this is complicated. First you need a bowl or a plate. Then you need to cut the cheddar and the apple into bite sized pieces. Then, and this is where it gets challening, put it on the bowl and go sit on the couch. Best damn snack ever. In fact, could be a good small meal. We've taken to a large block of irish white cheddar of late.
And that's the days NOTnews. Good night and whatever...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hide from that Weird Girl at the Gym and Still Workout!

Alright, fine. Proven wrong. He knows how to use the microwave. I'm sorry.

Phew, that was hard.

Moving right along.

Home gym fun!

If you're saying to yourself, "that looks like an erg in the middle of a living room", you would be correct. It is one jump rope, one erg (which folds in two and hides in a corner of our dining room), one yoga mat, two five pound weights and one eight kilogram kettlebell.

What I did with this six foot square space:

2500 meter row
100 goblet squats with 8 kilos
100 sit ups with 10 pounds
50 push-ups
500 jump rope

I did this in 41 minutes and 30 seconds. Last time I tried it it took about 42 minutes.

This was perfect for my attention span. By that I mean, when I got bored of one thing I could do something else. I didn't do it in order. I did jot it down quickly while I was working so I wouldn't lose track. If I rowed for 500 meters I'd jot that down before doing 10 sit ups and jot that down before doing 10 push-ups. Its also easily modified if you don't have an erg or weights. You can skip the weights all together or hold something in your house that's heavy like a child or your pride, maybe add some extra jump ropes, a few burpees or some jumping jacks.

The best part of home gym? Not having to wonder if you're wearing gym appropriate clothing!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

For the Record

I have been reprimanded. Fiance (who's identity I am still required to protect) can apparently use the microwave. When I asked what would happen if I asked him to cook something for twelve minutes and 52 seconds he responded: "I would ask you why you want me to blow something up in the microwave".

Perhaps we'll have a test tonight. Mwahahahha.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


They totally deserve capitalization what with their tastiness and awesome. Also, they are not the devil. When you think of carbs you probably think of pasta and dinner rolls. But congrats! Carbs are actually a macronutrient along with protein and fat and you need all three to live.

Because life is not fair, pasta and dinner rolls are not the carbs that have most of the micronutrients like vitamins. As part of my daily food journal I have two specific categories that allow for carbohydrates. These are the fruit/vegetable category and the whole grain category. If its not those two or a protein it falls in the extras column. Personally, I shoot for two servings of whole grain a day and never limit my fruits or vegetables. I know, its kind of shocking to think of fruits and vegetables as carbohydrates (and also kind of sad for people who think they should always feed their body's cravings so they eat pasta when they could probably eat an orange).

Some people freak their shit out when you talk about grains. There are whole lifestyles organized around avoiding them. And actually there is some science to suggest you should be careful about too much grains in your diet. For me, I'm pretty careful about the carbs and grains I put in my body. I even make my own whole wheat bread. It tastes world's better than the grocery store stuff, my fiance will attest to that. (Although he has a silly fear of the blog world and while he reads this he wont comment to tell you how awesome I am and how great my bread is. He also can't really work our wireless internet or the microwave if something needs cooking for more than the auto-one-minute button. He is good at plenty of other things, don't worry.) We go through about a loaf a week. Yea that's a lot of bread, probably a piece or two a day for each of us (within the 2 per day serving) but considering how much junk we could be eating by buying it, its totally worth making. There are good choices to be made! But really, they're just freakin tasty!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

These People Make My Brain Hurt

So part of my masters program included statistical analysis. I also happen to be the daughter of a woman who is a scientist and uses statistics in her job (read: life's work). This means I get irrationally upset over people who don't understand cause and effect. I also go crazy over gross generalizations when they affect a person's actual life.

For instance, claiming things like 'In holistic circles it is widely believed that the vast majority of the population suffers from hidden food allergies.'. Really people? REALLY?! I'm all about holistic medicine. I have a friend who has some potentially life threatening medical issues. She goes to an immunologist and a chiropractor. Nine times out of ten the immunologist throws up his hands and suggests she buy stock in Advil and rest more. Then she'll go to the chiropractor and he fixes her right up. This is to say, I am all about alternative medicines. HOWEVER! Could we please throw around these gross generalizations about allergies less often? I mean, don't get me wrong, I actually have two fatal allergies myself and a terrible intolerance for preservatives but for God sake could we not just throw all this around as if people aren't going to read this man's book and proclaim themselves allergic to everything except the grass in their yard. I'm sure he has some science to back it up and I bet Dr. Hyman has a stellar resume but lets not go around telling people they're SECRETLY ALLERGIC TO WHEAT.

I'm not saying he is wrong or even that I disagree. I'm just saying, whoa there with the assumptions.

Now for a topic that makes people more crazy. My personal views aside (in full disclosure any child of mine will be fully and completely immunized including for HPV) I would like to be clear about some things Mr. US News. Pap smears do not, under any circumstances protect a woman from cervical cancer. Being the grandchild of a man who personally knew Dr. Papanicolau, educating myself both in school and personally on the issue (you know because I'm a chick) and since I've had a dozen or so pap smears in my life (some of which were 'abnormal') I can tell you that there is a major difference between prevent and protect. Getting a pap smear will help you discover these abnormal cells and if you're like me they could be a blip and no big thing. If you have an abnormal pap they'll monitor it and if it doesn't clear up there is a whole protocol for action. HOWEVER! Simply going to the Gyno and getting a pap does not inherently protect you from cancer.

But, blog lady, you say, is there that much of a difference?


By not getting a pap smear you are not increasing the chance you will get cervical cancer you are only increasing the chance you wont find the earliest signs of cancer.

Think of it this way: say you're a twelve year old girl and you're told by your teacher (who read the US News article) that getting a pap smear protects you from getting cancer. Now, I could have very low expectations for twelve year old girls (I know some, so, doubtful) but you'd probably think: "Yippee, I can go smoke with my older cousins! I can have all that fun sex the kids on the TV box talk about so long as I go get one of those fancy smear things! Woohoo!" By this I mean: stop confusing our poor, unassuming young ladies.

Also for God sake, teach them the difference between prevent and protect.